Gold Key Short Story by Kuk
On the night of January 3rd, 2012, Julian Greenson was nursing a coffee, trying to watch the television. In another room, people were partying, sure that they had run the best presidential primary campaign of all time. Julian, however, wasn’t so sure. He wanted to know he would win. So far he had won forty-eight of Iowa’s ninety-nine counties. Decent, but he wanted more. He ran his hand through his graying brown hair. It was combed perfectly into a part on the left side of his head. His green eyes were fixated on the screen.
“Can I get you anything else, Mr. Greenson?” the kid behind the counter asked. Julian turned away from the television.
“Uh, no, I’m fine.” He said.
The kid began to wash a coffee pot out.
“What’s your name, son?” Julian asked.
“Um, Greg Turner, sir.”
“How old are you?” Greg started cleaning the French coffee press.
“I’m nineteen, sir.”? Julian nodded. “Do you go to college?” he asked.
“I go to Iowa State,” replied Greg.
“Ah,” Julian said, “I’m a Princeton man myself. Class of ’88. Went to Harvard Law after that. Class of ’92 there.” He smiled. “What do you want to do after you graduate, Greg?” he asked.
“I guess I want to study economics,” Greg said. “My dad’s an economist, too.”
“We need more economists,” said Julian. He extended his right hand. “Well, Greg, it’s been a pleasure meeting you.” He shook his hand.
Greg nodded. “You too, sir.”
Julian turned away to leave, but then turned around.
“Two more questions. Are you a Republican, and can I have a muffin?”
“Two answers, sir. I’m a Democrat, and we’re out of muffins.”
A cheer came from the other room. “It sounds like I just won Iowa,” Julian said. “How much for the coffee?”
Julian pulled out a wad of dollar bills, sloppily tied together with a rubber band. “Keep the change.”
Meanwhile, a few blocks away, Hank Goerig sat at a twenty-four hour Krispy Kreme, eating a box of chocolate-frosted donuts. He was waiting for a large Coca Cola and a double espresso. He had turned the television in the store off. He knew what everyone would be saying: Greenson beats Goerig in largest margin of victory in Iowa Caucus history, Greenson beats Goerig 37%-8%, Greenson expected to win Republican nomination. Greenson, Greenson, Greenson. He hated that name. He wished Greenson were dead. He checked his watch. Hendrickson was late. The Krispy Kreme employee brought him his Coca Cola.
“Sorry we’re out of hazelnut coffee,” he apologized.
Goerig sighed. “I haven’t had a hazelnut coffee in a long time,” he said. The employee approached him again.
“Hey, you’re Hank Goerig,” he laughed, “the guy who lost by, like, seven hundred votes.” Goerig sighed. He would always be known as the loser who lost by seven hundred votes. He looked at his reflection in the mirror. Why would anyone vote for him? He was sixty-four, overweight, and had hair like Paul McCartney, except dull gray, and greasier than a McDonald’s hamburger.
“Mr. Goerig?” In the doorway there stood a gangly blonde man in a blue wool coat.
“Are you Hendrickson?” Goerig asked.
“Yes, sir.” Hendrickson nodded. “Do you want to go for a walk?”
They walked to a small park a little ways down from the Krispy Kreme. They stopped at a fence overlooking a little pond.
“Mr. Goerig,” Hendrickson said, “people call me in when they’re desperate, when they really, really want to win.” He paused to light a cigarette. The smoke soon filled the air. “The question is, Mr. Goerig, do you really want to win?” He chuckled. “My services don’t come cheap, but I’m the best in the biz. I can find anything about anyone anywhere.”
Goerig really wanted to win. He felt as if it was the only thing he had ever wanted.
“I want to win,” he said, “I really want to win. I would give anything to win. Anything.”
Hendrickson extended his hand. “Mr. Goerig. For eighty thousand dollars, no more no less, I’m your man.”
Goerig shook his hand. “It’s a deal.”
Hendrickson extinguished the cigarette.“I expect payment by Friday. No later than that.” He threw the cigarette in the pond, and walked away, his shoes squeaking strangely.
Goerig nervously buttoned his jacket up. He went back to the Krispy Kreme for another donut, and then drove to the Best Western Hotel where he was staying.
Julian Greenson’s headquarters were in a large office building, on the twentieth floor. Hendrickson had the whole building mapped out. Every dimension and measurement was accurate, no pipe or vent out of place. Standing behind him were three beefy men, all wearing black clothing. Hendrickson placed a small device near the door, and within a few seconds, it exploded. The door had been blasted off its hinges. He entered the building, the three men following him. The interior of the building was all white, with a marble floor. One of the men approached the elevator.
“Idiot. It won’t work. We’ve got to use the stairs,” Hendrickson snarled. He pointed at the largest of the men. “You, you’re in charge,” he snapped. The man saluted.
“Don’t call me sir; we’re not in the service anymore.” He walked to his car, a black Jaguar. “Meet me at the Holiday Inn Express by the interstate,” he said, “and clear up this mess.” He gestured towards the frame where the door had once been. He climbed into his car, and drove away. The three men began lumbering up the stairs.
When they reached the twenty-second floor, they placed another explosive at the entrance to Greenson’s headquarters. When it exploded, the men rushed into the office.
It was a generic office. It could have been an investment firm or the multi-million dollar campaign headquarters for the Republican presidential front-runner. It had a few Apple computers, lots of phones, and an array of filing cabinets.?? The leader logged onto the computer. He didn’t know the password, but hacking was his special talent. He had worked as a computer programmer in Desert Storm, and had dabbled in hacking enemy computers in Afghanistan, until his dishonorable discharge. Hendrickson and the two other men had also been discharged with him.?? As the computer loaded, the man took out a small flash drive. He plugged it in, and began loading the data. Meanwhile, his two companions were busy stuffing every file in the office into garbage bags. When every file had been taken, both electronically and physically, the three men made their way down to the security office. They smashed the security monitor, and ripped the film out of the tape. Finally, they went into the storage closet, and got two replacement doors, and some screws. They fixed up the two doors, and they loaded fake files onto the computer, put false psprt files into the cabinets. They exited through the front holding all their cargo.?? It was the perfect crime. No one would know what happened except them. The men got into a beat-up Chevy Silverado, and drove to the motel.
Hendrickson and the three men stayed up all night sifting through the files. By 7 AM, they had found nothing.
“This dude’s cleaner than a mysophobic guy’s bathroom,” one of the men said. “We aren’t going to find anything bad on him.”
“Will you shut up?” Hendrickson shouted.
“Have you found something?” one of the men asked. Hendrickson grinned.
“Oh, yeah.” He showed the men a piece of paper which read:
State of Louisiana Police
Arrest warrant for: Mr. Julian Greenson of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Crime: Bribing a public official. Warrant issued: 11/4/2000
Overview: Mr. Greenson, the Republican candidate for Junior Senator from Louisiana in 2000, was caught engaging in voter fraud, after allegedly having supporters stuff ballot boxes in primarily Democratic areas. Mr. Greenson then bribed Officer Joseph Castor of New Orleans to keep the incident a secret. Mr. Castor stated that the bribe was somewhere between $400,000, and $450,000. Mr. Castor accepted the bribe, and then alerted authorities. We have been unable to find Mr. Greenson, and his home in Elwood has already been searched.
There is a photo of Mr. Greenson on the next page, and his physical description is as follows:
Height: 6’4” Weight: 89 Kg. (195 Lbs.) Hair Color: Brown- Gray Age: 40 Eye Color: Blue Skin Color: Light Tan Race: Caucasian
Any civilian who sees Mr. Greenson should notify the authorities immediately
James Paul Jackson, Jr.
Commissioner, Louisiana Police Force
The men grinned, Hendrickson the widest of them all. They looked at the document before them. It was old and dusty, and probably the only surviving copy.
“We need to get this to Mr. Goerig,” Hendrickson said gleefully. “This is pure gold!”
“Hello, and welcome to the eighteenth Republican presidential debate. I’m Ben Klamickis, and I’ll be moderating the debate. This debate is between the two remaining Republican candidates, Senator Julian Greenson of Louisiana and former Governor Hank Goerig of Rhode Island. Senator Greenson currently has a hefty lead, and it is widely speculated that Goerig will drop out after this debate.”
Backstage, Hendrickson handed Goerig the document. Goerig inspected it. He grinned boyishly. “Is it real?” He asked.
“It’s bona fide,” Hendrickson said. “No doubt about it.”
“Mr. Goerig, the debate’s about to start,” said the stage manager. Goerig picked up the cue cards on his desk, and pocketed the document.
“I’ll use this later on,” he said, “It has to wait until the very end.”
The two candidates met on stage. They shook hands.
“Greenson, drop out now,” Goerig whispered, “I have information that could ruin you.” He walked to his podium. The moderator began to read the first question.
“Senator Greenson, if elected President, what would you do about the fourteen trillion dollar deficit currently affecting our economy?” Greenson straightened his tie. He had rehearsed this dozens of times.
“Well, Ben,” he said, “I would cut government spending by two and a half trillion dollars, because…” He paused. Everyone in the auditorium seemed to wait with bated breath. Goerig sighed. Greenson sure knew how to milk an applause line. Finally, Greenson started up again. “This madness has to stop. This pessimistic president has no idea how to run an economy, but I do. A vote for Julian Stephen Douglas Greenson is a vote for a better economy and a better America!” The audience immediately burst into applause.
“Greenson! Greenson! Greenson!” they all passionately cried. Goerig muttered profanities under his breath. Greenson was good. No doubt about it, he was good.
“Governor Goerig, same question.” The moderator tried hard to hide his obvious support and enthusiasm for Greenson. Goerig smiled.
“Well, Ben, I…”
The debate raged on. Goerig had been positively massacred. Greenson kept saying the right things, and Goerig couldn’t keep up. When asked about immigration, Greenson talked about imprisoning anyone who tried to cross over into America, which the audience seemed to love. Goerig didn’t even have an immigration policy. When asked about foreign relations with Iran, Greenson said with unsurpassed passion that he wanted to invade the country. Goerig gave a convoluted answer about information that US intelligence had gathered about their nuclear experiments.?? Now, the debate was almost over, and Goerig was trying to pick the right time to reveal what he knew about Greenson. The paper was burning a hole in his pocket. He took a deep breath. The announcer began to speak.
“Wait!” Goerig cried. The audience gasped. Goerig took out the document. “I know Senator Greenson stuffed ballot boxes, and bribed a police officer!” Goerig emphasized the last two words; it made it sound more powerful.
“A wonderful story, Hank, but do you have proof?” Greenson laughed. “’Cause if you don’t have proof, this whole story is a load of bull.” He looked at Goerig, his eyes narrowed to slits.
Goerig picked up the document.
“I hold in my hand the official arrest warrant. Signed in ink by the commissioner of the Louisiana State Police. From 2000, when you supposedly won the election.” Goerig paused. He looked at the audience. “Greenson destroyed all the copies of this document, except one. This one.” He gave it to Greenson, and he began to read it.?? A few minutes later, Greenson began to laugh. “Goerig, this whole thing is a load of crap!” announced Greenson. “It’s hokum, a hoax, a forgery!” He threw the document down. “James Paul Jackson resigned as commissioner of the Louisiana Police Force in 1999. Martin Foreman was commissioner in 2000. He served until 2007. Whoever had this forged by you had some wrong information.”
“B-but, this was in your office,” Goerig stammered. “It-it was in a filing cabinet.” The audience gasped.
“Governor Goerig, how did you get ahold of this document if, as Mr. Greenson states, it was in his office?” asked the moderator. Goerig gulped. He was drowning now.
“Why did he have this in his office if it was a forgery? I mean, how did he even get ahold of this?” Goerig asked, bewildered.
“Because I was sent it a few years ago, and I filed it away. As a, as a, well, a reference,” Greenson said. “I file everything away,” he said, “even old Playboys.” The audience chuckled. Greenson turned to face Goerig. “You engaged in foul play, Mr. Goerig, but you got false information.” He whispered the last part.?? “I think this debate’s over!” Greenson announced. He walked off the stage. Goerig felt tears forming in his eyes. He had lost.
A day later, Goerig dropped out. Greenson won the nomination the day after that.
State Police Commissioner Martin Foreman sat at his desk, reading the police report. He smiled. He picked up the other copy he had. He held them up to the light. They were nearly identical, except for one thing. The first copy was signed by James Paul Jackson. That was the forgery. The second document was signed by him. It was the real one. He had six hundred thousand dollars in his pocket from Greenson. With it was a little thank you note.?? Foreman put the real document through a paper shredder. Greenson had received a copy of the real one, but had destroyed it. Goerig still had the fake one, but it didn’t matter any more. Foreman smiled. No one would ever know the truth.